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Common discomforts during pregnancy

When you fall pregnant, there are several changes that will happen to your body which can lead to some forms of discomfort. While these discomforts may be completely normal during pregnancy, it’s important to know when to perhaps seek medical attention. Pregnancy has a number of stages and each of these stages comes with its own discomforts which arise largely due to the hormonal changes and the growth of the growing baby.

Here’s a brief overview of seven complications which can occur in pregnancy by Dr Bryan Kenny:

1. Morning Sickness

Research data has shown that more than 60% of women usually experience morning sickness during their pregnancies. Although this is usually limited to the first trimester, it may continue throughout the rest of the pregnancy as well. Morning sickness is usually characterised by an unusual urge to vomit.

2. Lack of Energy/Lethargy/Fatigue

This is another common symptom associated with pregnancy. During pregnancy, you may feel tired and lack energy. This is the time that most pregnant women find a place to curl up or take a nap. Fatigue is caused as a result of the production of new hormone such as progesterone which is preparing the body to receive the baby and many other functions. To curb this, it is advisable that women eat food containing irons, vitamins and minerals.

3. Heartburn

This occurs in more than 50% of women during pregnancy and can be quite uncomfortable and painful. The other factors that can lead to indigestion in the body during pregnancy occur as a result of reduced contraction in the intestines leading to slower transit of food through the gut, the relaxing of the valve that keeps the top of the stomach closed and physical pressure from below as the baby gets bigger. The major symptom is feeling gassy, and having a bloated stomach.

4. Constipation

At some point in time during a pregnancy, about 70% of women are likely to experience discomfort arising from constipation. This is caused by the reduction in the level of contraction in the intestines due to the production of progesterone which aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals.

5. Insomnia

During pregnancy, there is a great increase in the amount of sleep disturbance experienced. About 78% of women usually find it hard to fall or stay asleep. This is caused as a result of hormonal changes which lead to fatigue and sleep issues. These changes usually affect the muscle and may result into snoring and a higher risk of developing sleep apnoea.

6. Bleeding Gums & Tooth pain

Although this is overshadowed by other pregnancy complications, a more recent study has shown that about 75% of women experience one form of oral health issue during their pregnancy.

7. Headaches and Migraines

This also arises due to hormonal changes in the body which leads to tension, congestion, and lack of sleep, dehydration, low blood pressure, low sugar and even caffeine withdrawal.

Discomfort is normal during pregnancies but if you suffer any symptoms that cause you any concern, then always make sure you contact your pregnancy care provider.

Dr Bryan Kenny is an obstetrician whose focus is providing safe and individualised care for women and their babies during pregnancy.

This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.

Common discomforts during pregnancy